Art Dealer Barry Friedman Announces Retirement

friedman-retiresArt dealer Barry Friedman, of Barry Friedman Ltd. and Friedman Benda, announced today at a dealers’ luncheon at “Salon: Art + Design,” which opens tonight at the Park Avenue Armory, that after 50 years in the business, he will be retiring.

Friedman entered the art business in the 1960s, and by the ’70s, when interest for Tiffany glass was peaking, he established himself as a leading dealer of Art Nouveau furniture. By the ’80s, he had moved over to photography and teamed up with Edwynn Houk to establish Houk Friedman on the Upper East Side. That gallery closed in 1997. Thereafter, he pursued his interest in collectible art glass and became instrumental in helping raise its image. Since opening Barry Friedman, Ltd. 40 years ago, he has been influential in erasing the boundaries between art and design. Today, Barry Friedman deals in a wide variety of work from ceramic, glass, and furniture to the more traditional fine art disciplines of painting and photography.

“There is an old argument–craft versus art,” Friedman has said. “I don’t get into that anymore. For me, it is contemporary decorative arts.”

Some of the significant shows held at Barry Friedman, Ltd. have included “Michael Eastman: Havana 2010,” “Venice. 3 Visions in Glass: Cristiano Bianchin, Yoichi Ohira, Laura de Santillana,” “Ron Arad: A Retrospective Exhibition 1981-2004,” “Fernand Khnopff and the Belgian Avant-garde,” and “Tamara de Lempicka.” He currently represents contemporary artists Ian Ingram, Michael Eastman, Maxim Kantor, and Gottfried Helnwein. He also deals in works on the secondary market by Fernand Leger, Albert Gleizes, and Anna A. Kogan.

In September 2007, Friedman joined forces with Mark Benda, over 30 years his junior, to open Chelsea gallery Friedman Benda, which represents Ron Arad, Ai Weiwei, Paul Cocksedge, and John Chamberlain, among many others.

Barry Friedman could not be reached immediately for comment.

— Rozalia Jovanovic (@Ruschka)

(Photo: Courtesy Porter Hovey on Flickr.)